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Thread: Bulger Looks Forward
Bulger Looks Forward
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
By Nick Wagoner
A short memory can go a long way in the NFL. This week, all of the Rams are doing what’s necessary to forget what happened at Philadelphia and focus on what needs to happen this Sunday against the Giants.
With no player is that short memory more important than quarterback Marc Bulger. As the guy saddled with the task of making the offense go and this week of revving up a group that was stagnant last week, Bulger has already put the past behind him.
“You have to,” Bulger said. “With Coach (Scott) Linehan we have a 24 hour rule around here, win or lose. We came in Monday, beat ourselves up and tried to make as many corrections as we could. Today, we are playing the world champs so if we don’t (forget), it will happen again.”
Indeed, Bulger and the Rams will get no passes this weekend as the Giants come calling. Much like the Eagles, New York specializes in finding ways to harass, bruise and batter opposing quarterbacks.
For those in need of examples, simply call on the tape of the Giants’ Super Bowl win in which their front seven wreaked havoc on Tom Brady and the Patriots.
If the Rams want to bounce back against the Giants and come up with an upset, there will have to be improvements on both sides of the ball. Spearheading any turnaround offensively falls on the shoulders of Bulger.
In the immediate aftermath of Sunday’s loss, Bulger was quick to take the blame for the offense’s anemic performance. That group posted 166 total yards and Bulger was 14-of-26 for 158 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions.
It was far from the worst performance of Bulger’s career but it certainly wasn’t his best, either. After spending the rest of Sunday and Monday breaking down film and beating himself up over the effort, Bulger couldn’t wait to get back to work Wednesday.
“I love being back here because I want to go out and prove we are not that bad,” Bulger said. “I don’t want to sit here for two weeks if there was a bye week and sit on that loss. The best thing you can do is go back out and play then come back and talk to you guys about a win.”
The nature of Bulger’s position dictates that much of the blame will fall on him when the team doesn’t perform. That simply goes with the territory.
But Linehan and coach Al Saunders believe Bulger didn’t play as poorly as popular opinion might indicate.
“I think his play was indicative of our game,” Linehan said. “It certainly wasn’t his best game. His decisions weren’t as good as they’re going to be in my opinion, but he wasn’t forcing too many things. He was doing a pretty good job of managing the situation, it’s just not good enough to win with, but that’s was our team’s performance, it wasn’t his; it was our team and mine and everybody else. I would like to think we’re going to play a heck of a lot better than that.”
Compounding matters for Bulger and Co. was a dynamic, exotic blitz scheme that made everyone’s life more difficult. Saunders’ offense is based on rhythm and timing and requires those components for success.
With the Eagles blitzing, hitting and pressuring Bulger on nearly every throw, it was hard for him to get untracked.
Saunders says Bulger handled the pressure pretty well, all things considered. The Rams keep track of a stat they call ‘strike points.’
A strike point measures the quarterback’s accuracy on each of his passing attempts. Of his 26 throws, Bulger was accurate on 19 of those attempts according to Saunders.
Saunders believes there are plenty of ways for Bulger to get back on track this week.
“When you get pressure in your face, you adjust your throws a little to get them there,” Saunders said. “That was not a problem for Marc. He did a little better than I think people gave him credit for. We need to do some things a little better for him schematically and allow him to have an opportunity to throw the ball in a confined environment rather than having guys in his face.”
There are a couple of ways not necessarily involving scheme to help Bulger get rolling this week.
The simple execution of pass protections will allow Bulger time to deliver the ball where it needs to go and not focus on a single target as he did repeatedly against Philadelphia.
One way to make that task easier is to cut down on the pre snap penalties. The Rams had six false starts against the Eagles with each infraction committed by a different player. That led to plenty of third and long situations and the Rams failed to convert any of their third down opportunities.
“We have to be more focused in and in tune with that,” Bulger said. “It’s something we are going to work on. We have to fix that.”
A faster start would also help against the Giants. The Rams fell behind by so much so early that they had to abandon plans to run the ball more than they did.
Saunders said he probably should have stuck with the run more than he did and finding that balance will be critically important to keep the Giants defense from getting as blitz happy as the Eagles.
Of course, New York has many of the same principles in terms of the blitz as Philadelphia, meaning the Rams will have to be prepared for anything again this week.
“It’s a copycat league so I think they are going to imitate and they have in their system a lot of what Philly did,” Bulger said. “Whether it’s a blitz pickup or a coverage, they are going to do things until we can beat it, it’s not secret. So it’s up to us to make those plays.”
And it starts with Bulger.
Re: Bulger Looks Forward
Bulger would have to be more than perfect to pull out this upset IMO
Re: Bulger Looks Forward
I've always enjoyed Bulger's attitude. He's a hard worker. Glad he's our leader.
I hope he can motivate our team also. We need the motivator. It should be Jackson honestly, but Bulger and Green (the vets) can do some motivation also..
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